The national number of school fixed term exclusions expressed as a percentage of the primary school population in 2013/14 was 1.02%, i.e. on average, one child in every 100 receive and exclusion. Quite a few of the excluded children had more than one exclusion, so in practice 0.49% of children were actually excluded, around one in every 200. This shows an increase over 2011/12, of 11.5% which is much less than the figure for Kent and Medway, but certainly is evidence of a significant change of strategy in the country’s primary schools with regard to discipline.
For Kent, the figures were higher than the national figure, at 1.29% on average, but in practice 0.58 children for every 100 in the county’s primary schools, nowhere near the level of Medway. What is worrying is that this also represents a large increase since 2012/13 of 19%.
Few primary school pupils are permanently excluded, for 2013/14 the percentage nationally being 0.02% as it was for 2012/13. Kent saw a fall in the year from 0.3% to 0.2%, the national average.
However, Kent showed a sharp fall from two years previously fitting in with the Local Authority strategy to reduce the number of permanent exclusions, as explained in my article. By 2012/13 the number was 88, approximately halving form the previous year. This continued into 2013/14 with a total of 64, less than half the national average.
I now have a set of 2014.15 permanent exclusion figures for Kent that show a disappointing increase from 90 to 109 (I don’t have primary and secondary figures separately), but this is mainly down to a change in policy at two of the Brook Academy Trust schools, amongst the smallest and least popular in the county, which had no permanent exclusions in 2013/4, but 13 in 2014/15. Eight of these were at Ebbsfleet Academy which is operating a very public tough discipline tactic as explained here. Two primary schools in Thanet, run by the controversial TKAT Academy Trust account for another nine: Salmestone Primary and Drapers Mills Primary Academy, up from two last year.
The permanent exclusion increase in secondary schools in Medway contrasts sharply with Kent’s reduction the other way as it soared from 34 to 59 students over the year, a further rise from 19 in 2011/12 and 3 in 2009/10. The Bishop of Rochester Academy, on which the Diocese of Rochester has now given up to pass it on as the Victory Academy, accounted for nearly a quarter of these, at 14 students. The figure is now two and a half times the national average and is the fourth highest in the country, behind Lewisham, Oldham and Tameside. At primary level it increased by 50% to nine, over the year.
After this article was originally written, I received the permanent exclusion figures for Medway in 2014/15. These show a small but welcome fall in permanent exclusions to 52 secondary exclusions over the year, and seven were from primary schools. Highest number of permanent exclusions were from Brompton Academy - 11, and Robert Napier School - 10 (which also had the highest number - 16 - of students withdrawn or encouraged to leave the school to take up 'elective' home education ).